Happy Christmas

The past year has not always been easy for the police service. Each time there seemed to be progress, something from the past re-appeared to cause more instability and shake public confidence.

Of course, the repercussions of some of those past mistakes – such as at Hillsborough or child sexual exploitation – will be with us for many years to come. Mistakes have to be admitted if the service is to learn from the past and make improvements.

But the mistakes should not obscure the good things. Overall, South Yorkshire remains a pretty safe place in which to live, learn and work. We owe this in large measure to the police. They keep us safe by day and night, in our homes and in public places. And this year some have paid a heavy price for doing their job. We should never take that for granted.

I was struck by something an asylum seeker told me. In the country from which he had fled, a police officer was someone to be avoided at all costs. Now he finds their presence reassuring.

I have two wishes. I hope that Christmas will be as safe for police officers – and the other emergency services – as they will make it for us. And I hope that in 2017 we shall turn a corner and see the police service as a whole in South Yorkshire become as good as many of those individual officers we all meet.

Happy Christmas.